Experimental music, photography, and adventures

Archive for March, 2010

One last ride before my surgery

Sunday, March 7th, 2010

Note: this may be a little confusing. I actually already had my surgery on Friday. See my status update here. I just didn’t get around to writing about this ride until afterwards.

After work on Thursday, I wanted to fit in one last ride before my foot surgery. I thought about planning  a route, but never really got around to it. Instead, I decided to do a ramble west of town. I stopped by home first to drop off some dead weight, but forgot to drop off my lock, and I had a pannier with me, so I still had a few extra pounds to deal with. The ride was short — around 11 miles — but hilly. And, I was still dressed in my work clothes. This actually worked out just fine. I’ll be posting a video, but I will put that at the end of my post. The scenery in this video is a lot better than in previous videos. Here’s a map of the route I ended up riding.

I started heading west on Rhorer Road, which turns into Gordon Pike. This road was slightly busier than what I’m used to, and had a couple of good hills.

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But I wasn’t on it for long before I turned onto the Bloomington Rail-Trail. It didn’t take long for scenery to turn more rural.

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Before long I was on Church Ave, which took me to Victor Pike. I then crossed State Road 37 and was truly out in the country. The riding in this area is a lot different from where I’m used to riding. The hills are just relentless on this side of town. Most of them are smaller, but you ride one hill after another. It’s both exhilarating and exhausting. And, there are several limestone quarries out in this area, which are always interesting.

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I mostly took video throughout this section, so I suppose this would be a good place to post the video. I did more editing and added music this time. The music is a track I wrote a few years ago.  The video is rather long, but the beginning and portion from about 4:30-5:30 are the best parts. Toward the end it gets dark but I kept this footage to give an idea of what the experience was like. The light was incredible for most of the ride, as it went from near-sunset, to full-on sunset, to dusk. Just lovely.

And here are a few more still shots. It felt wonderful to get out and ride, and I especially relished the opportunity, since I knew it’d be a while before I could ride again.

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This was a fitting ride, both as a first real recreational ride after moving to our new house, and as the last ride before my surgery. It felt like a chapter of my riding closed but another opened at the same time. Here’s looking forward to more exploration of this beautiful land, which is different from my previous riding territory, but equally full of wonder. And, my old riding grounds aren’t too far away, either.

More commute footage

Saturday, March 6th, 2010

Here are a couple more commuting videos. In the first, I show the bike lane on Lincoln Street here in Bloomington. This is really a poorly-designed bike lane. Here are some problems:

  • Throughout – Bike lane is situated in the door zone. Riding on the left edge of it helps, but I still don’t feel 100% safe with it. Sometimes I have to ride in the traffic lane to avoid the door zone.
  • 0:22 –  Weird dividers between the bike lane and traffic lane. Not sure if these are really problematic but they seem odd and make me a little nervous.
  • 0:34 – Hazard in bike lane (manhole cover, slippery when wet)
  • 0:50 – Starting at this point, the street gets wider and the bike lane moves to the far right of the street, which soon becomes a right-turn-only lane. I avoid this by staying in the main traffic lane to go straight. After the intersection, the bike lane continues on the far right, which once again becomes a right-turn-only lane. I suppose you could go straight from the right lane, but this seems like you’d be setting yourself up for a right hook.
  • 1:39 – The bike lane continues on the far right, but this is a one-way street. State law permits riding on either side. If you want to turn left (as I did), you have to maneuver across the traffic lane anyway.

In my view, this road is good for biking, and would be even better *without* the bike lanes. They encourage/force unsafe riding practices — riding in the door zone, going straight from a turn lane.

Here’s another video, in which I go through part of downtown Bloomington. I had previously been taking a route that missed the square entirely, but I’ve discovered it’s actually very pleasant riding by the square.

Surgery update

Saturday, March 6th, 2010

I had my surgery on my foot yesterday morning. I’m told it went well, although I can’t even see how it looks, as it’s bandaged and will stay that way until at least Tuesday, when I go in for a follow-up visit. I had  a good experience at Surgicare, the facility where my doctor performed the surgery.  The only mishap was a nurse stepping on my IV. This was disconcerting, but an honest mistake. I was a little disturbed, a little amused, and a little reassured that everyone I spoke with asked me what foot they were operating on and what they were doing to it. I’m glad they double, triple, and quadruple-checked, but it got me thinking about what would happen if they performed a procedure on the wrong patient. Scary to think about.I was also a little reassured by the fact that the doctor I’ve been seeing was the one performing the surgery, as he knew exactly what needed to be done.

For the procedure, I had an IV, plus electrodes on my chest and I’m told they put in a breathing tube after they knocked me out. I must’ve looked like some kind of freakish cyborg. They cut out a bad section of skin and shaved off part of a bone in my little toe, and sent in the skin for testing to make sure it’s not something serious. The doctor said there’s no reason to think it’s more than an abscess, but they always send it in for testing, just to be sure.

After the procedure, I woke up feeling quite well. I didn’t even realize it was over until I looked down at my foot and saw it was bandaged. They used a local AND a general anesthetic, and my foot is STILL somewhat numb, and I’ve got meds on top of that, so there’s really been little pain so far, for the most part. I expect things to get worse before they get better, as my foot numbness wears off, but time will tell. From what I understand, some people wake up from the general anesthetic feeling horrible, and this has not happened to me this time, nor when I had my wisdom teeth out. I guess I handle the general anesthetic well.

I’ve been prescribed hydrocodone for the pain. Some people love the way this stuff makes them feel, but I don’t. I don’t hate it either, but I can’t see why people do this stuff recreationally. I’ve found that some caffeine makes it more tolerable by keeping my from feeling so lethargic.

So … so far, so good. It was a beautiful day today and I would’ve loved to go for a bike ride, but I am just glad not to be in excruciating pain. I did get out for a while, we managed to get out for lunch and we went for a drive, with Sarah driving. It was great to get some fresh air. We also dropped my bike off at the bike shop for a tune-up. When I’m ready to ride again, my bike will be in top form. I also had them order a couple more Pasela tires for me, they had a good price, and I really like the one I’ve been testing.

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